Yum Brands’ Chairman David Novak to Retire in May by Reuters @FortuneMagazine January 6, 2016, 12:53 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Linkedin Share icons Yum Brands yum , the owner of Pizza Hut and KFC restaurant chains, said executive chairman and former CEO David Novak plans to retire in May. The company, which is spinning off its dominant China business, said it plans to appoint a non-executive chairman from its board. Yum said it will announce the appointment at its annual shareholder meeting. Novak, 63, will also step down from Yum’s board, but will remain a shareholder at both Yum and Yum China. “As we target the separation of our China business by the end of 2016 and transition to two powerful, independent companies, it is a perfect time for me to complete my retirement,” Novak said in a statement on Tuesday. He was named CEO in 1999 and became chairman in 2000, transitioning to executive chairman in January last year. Yum said in October it would spin off its dominant China business amid activist shareholder pressure.